At Willmar Electric, we like to have fun. So, we include a daily educational piece during the office’s morning huddle. On Wednesday, the educational piece is typically an idiom. (An idiom is a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words).

Last week’s idiom was “all that and a bag of chips.” Somebody in our Willmar office submitted it.

I had never heard the phrase in my life.

Most people in the meeting hadn’t either. The slide in the PowerPoint went on to explain that the phrase meant “something very special.” As in, “She’s all that and a bag of chips!”

I said don’t you mean “all that and a box of chocolates?” Many understood what I was talking about, but the bag of chips crowd was convinced I made it up.

Some tried to say do you mean “life is like a box of chocolates?”

Nope. That is something different.

The world didn’t begin in 1991 when the phrase “bag of chips” supposedly did. Nor did the world start in 1994 when Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates.”

“All that and a box of chocolates” means something is extraordinary. It has my entire life. I use the phrase all the time. When I mentioned the phrase to my wife, Sue, she said, “You say that all the time.”

My mind quickly jumped to thinking this “bag of chips” crowd was stupid and uncouth. Why had they never heard my phrase? Why say a bag of chips?

A bag of chips is nothing special.

It’s the lazy side item brought by somebody who can’t cook or bake.

A box of chocolates is fancy. A person with so much money and free time they don’t buy candy bars. They buy fancy chocolates that come in a box. Chocolates with one flavor on the outside and another flavor on the inside. These people are so fancy that on the rare occasion they have chips, they serve them in a bowl and use tongs to get them out.

How can I co-exist in a world with these people? I grew up in the same town as the person who submitted the idiom. My daughter included it in the huddle slides and tried to claim she had heard the phrase before and that it was more common than my box of chocolates phrase.

You might wonder where I am going with all this talk about chips, chocolates, and my superiority.

You might think I am being hard on the young people who live and use the phrase “All that and a bag of chips.”

But am I? How different is it than people who do the same thing with other people on different topics?

(In case you’re wondering, I am having fun with this “controversy”).

The same way I do when I mock a person who drives a Ford, drinks Pepsi products, or eats Jiffy peanut butter. It is all in fun. What you drive, drink, and eat doesn’t define you. It defines what you drive, drink, and eat. Be careful if it bothers you when people give you a hard time about these things. It is mainly somebody giving you a hard time. If unsure, ask them, “Do you really think you’re better than me because I drink Pepsi and you drink Coke?” I wonder if you will because reading the statement shows how silly the concept is and would discourage you from asking.

The issue is when we take more significant and less controllable items and use them to judge people.

I must constantly remind myself not to jump to conclusions based on trivial things. It’s not easy. There is a word for it: stereotyping.

Stereotyping is significantly limiting not just to the victim but to the person who is doing the stereotyping.

Just because someone isn’t all that and a box of chocolates doesn’t mean they aren’t something extra special. They might be all that and a bag of chips.